Thursday, February 8, 2007

Further thoughts on flap at Forreston High

Educators at Forreston High School in Ogle County would do well to use the controversy over kids wearing symbols of the Confederacy (see below) to teach a few truths about the Civil War.

The first thing students should be taught is that the central issue of the conflict was slavery, at least from the South's viewpoint. Historical revisionists sympathetic to the Confederate cause are inclined to dispute this fact, mainly out of embarrassment, but they're mistaken.

Absent slavery in the South, there would have been no war, no matter the preposterous claims by neo-Confederates to the contrary. Hence, the sporting of Confederate symbols in the 21st century does not honor any noble heritage.

It doesn't matter that Confederate soldiers fought bravely. So did Hitler's troops in World War II. The fact remains that in both cases, the warriors fought on the side of evil institutions.

Teachers at Forreston and at other schools in the region have been presented a golden opportunity to impart a few valuable lessons about American history. If they don't seize it, they're in the wrong profession.

2 comments:

A Goat said...

Rascal,

What's your view on Confederate leaders? Should we rename Fort Hood, Fort Bragg, Fort Lee and a dozen other military facilities in the south? Surely the names of these bigots is more offensive than the flag they flew.

The Rascal said...

Goat:: You raise an interesting question. We also have lots of institutions named for such slaveholders as Washington, Jefferson, Madison, et al. As a practical matter, I doubt that efforts to rename these places (including the forts you mentioned) would be successful. But there's no good reason why we can't do a better job educating students on the realities of the Confederacy and the Civil War.